This is just a post about Shenmue.
I’ve been putting longplays of Shenmue in the background while I work on videos lately, and dude I just love these games so much. I really wish there were more behind-the-scenes videos about the making-of, or even just some more interviews with Yu Suzuki about the franchise, because I would eat that shit up.
Right now I’m in the middle of watching Shenmue II, and it’s making me eager to replay this one. As much as I enjoyed it, I’ve come to see it as my least favorite entry in the series, but I think I need to replay it to be sure. Honestly when I think back to playing it on stream, all I really remember is running the Lucky Hit stand and getting lost in the huge world. I think giving it another try would change my perspective on that because I’d be a bit more familiar with the map from the beginning. There’s a lot of story stuff and characters that I’d already completely forgotten about, so it’s possible I was too distracted with getting lost to really retain all that Shenmue II had to offer. I’m really enjoying watching the long play, though, it’s such a chill series.
It’s a shame about Shenmue III. I’ve been reading a bit about how it performed commercially, and it seems like not great. I was also reading about how if Yu Suzuki ends up making Shenmue IV, he wants to make it “more accessible to a mainstream audience,” which breaks my heart. I mean I get it, this shit costs money so it needs to make money, but still. It sounds like if we get another entry, it’s going to be faster paced, which ehhhhhhhh ehhhhhhh. Maybe there’s a way to please gamers with a revamped Shen-sperience while also maintaining the original Shen-spirit, but I have my doubts. Either way you know I’d play it.
And what’s happening with that Shenmue anime they announced? That seems pretty interesting, but I honestly have no idea how they’re going to translate the first 2 games into an interesting anime. An exciting challenge for sure.
Are there any other adventure games you’d recommend for longplay-watching? I’m really interested in games with detailed, explorable worlds like Shenmue has. But not Yakuza. If you suggest Yakuza I’m going to delete this website. I don’t mean to be rude I just already know about the Yakuza games. Do not recommend Yakuza. But if there are any other games with good long plays, let me know! Shenmue is just too perfect, it’s like watching a movie with gambling in-between plot points. I love Shenmue.
Alright back to work on video.
This is just an appreciation comment about how you got me turned onto Shenmue. After watching all of your Shenmue III streams, I decided to pick up the first 2 on PC. After only a few hours, my wife started watching me play and ever since we’ve pretty much only played together. Even for her, who’s not a video game fan, there’s something so endearing and captivating about these games. We just started Shenmue 2 tonight so it was perfect to see your post about it! Thanks for getting us into a great series. We’ve already bought Shenmue 3 and… Read more »
That’s so cool! I’m glad you two are enjoying exploring Shenmue, it’s definitely not a series for everyone but it is such a treat. I can see how it’d appeal to someone who doesn’t really like video games, too. Very chill and cinematic like, I like looking at the game as a life simulator with some really great characters and ample gambling. I hope you both continue enjoying the series! When you finish them come back and let me know how they all rank!
Aww that is a shame. I’d be interested in watching/hearing behind the scenes stories about Shenmue. Its such an unique series. Maybe Yu Suzuki could write a book about it. Shenmue II definitely felt bigger to me rewatching the VODs. Yeah go for it! Open world games like Shenmue leave more room to different replay experiences. I remember reading brief reviews of Shenmue III when it came out and I feel ya. Its a major bummer that it wasn’t ‘a hit’ and hearing people complaining that it wasn’t polished enough and..I don’t get it. I think Shenmue III was great.… Read more »
Thanks Allison! I feel like for now Yu Suzuki has earned the benefit of the doubt from me, at least until Shenmue IV details actually start emerging some day. It’d be a bummer to see it modernized, but at the same time at least he’s aware of the core fans that love the gameplay as-is. Surely he’ll still throw us a bone or two and not completely change everything.
What if the voice over was actually good in IV? That’d be… bizarre.
I think Disco Elysium and Pathologic both make for interesting longplays, they both focus on a small city with a mystery to explore. Plenty of talking to people and walking around to find even more people to talk to.
For something more comical, I loved watching “Half-Life VR but the AI is Self-Aware”. There’s the streamed version (very long, uncut) and the youtube version (edited down to somewhere around 4 to 5 hours).
Dude these are both great suggestions. Every time someone says Disco Elysium, I think of that Disco Dodgeball game, I think this is the first time I’ve actually looked into what it is haha. Looks cool, but Pathologic in particular looks dope. I’m all over that one.
I know next to nothing about Half-Life, but I’ll look into that lets play! Very long, uncut play through sounds good to me, I need that background noise.
Thanks for all the suggestions, Thana!
Just a heads-up if you plan on playing Pathologic! Pathologic 2 is largely a remake of the original. They are both rather difficult games, but the remake is much more manageable, especially since they added the option to adjust the difficulty. A downside of the remake is that it currently has only one playable character while the original had three, though there are plans to add the other two later. I would still probably recommend Pathologic 2 over the original, but, if you want to play the original, I would highly suggest playing the version on Steam called Pathologic Classic… Read more »
I’ve never found a game exactly like Shenmue, but there are some that I think end up giving out a very similar vibe. The Last Express seems like one you’d enjoy, it’s kind of like an adventure game on a train, trying to solve a mystery aboard it. It’s got some time constraints, several different endings, but lots of character interactions. I’d also say Deadly Premonition sort of gets there too – I think it might be the blocky aesthetic, and the open-world full of whatever you might find that makes me feel that way though. I’ve heard the Touryst… Read more »
snooze cruise coming in clutch! I know of Last Express but haven’t ever actually seen any gameplay, so I definitely want to look into that one. Isn’t that the one with rotoscoped animation? Also I totally forgot about Deadly Premonition. I feel like I remember watching Spoony play through that one eons ago, I’ll have to give it another look. I actually almost bought Touryst, but I just couldn’t get on board with the art style. The 3D pixel art style sometimes looks really rad, but that visual style wasn’t really for me. Maybe I should just watch a long… Read more »
I’d love so much to see you playing Last Express!
Do you think the original Shenmue counts as outsider art? It’s almost got that feel to me.
I think you could make the case for Shenmue III being outsider art (though I did just have to Google outsider art to figure out what exactly it is). Yu Suzuki had experience creating games pre-Shenmue, and 1 & 2 were pretty groundbreaking games at the time so I’m not sure they’d qualify as outsider art. But Shenmue III definitely ignored modern gaming advancements and instead insisted on being… well.. Shenmue III. So I think there’s probably an argument to be made there, somewhere. At the very least, it’s very niche.
I’d love to see some kinda review on the anime whenever it comes out, even if it was just a post like this or a moose2 vid
That’s a great idea! I probably wouldn’t do a full review of it, but I would definitely ramble about it for a while for moose2 or something.
It might be a bit of a long shot since it’s more action oriented, but I feel like no more heroes has some things in common with shenmue
I love the whole vibe of Shenmue. Played through l, ll, and lll and loved it. I get it being slow, but I think the slow pace allows you to really immerse yourself in all of the activities the game has to offer. Theres really nothing like it. I hope another game captures that feeling someday, or maybe I’ll just have to make one. We will see.
I’ve never played any of the Shenmue games myself, but I have become a big fan of the franchise thanks to your playthroughs. So any commentary that I have on any of the games can really only come from observation. After watching through all of the VODS, funny enough, Shenmue 2 was actually my favorite of the three. I love them all, but I really liked the locations of the second game, the plot line with Ren and being handcuffed together, and of course the Lucky Hit stands. I found the third game to be my least favorite, as, for… Read more »
Hi Ian! I love your website! I’m not too familiar with any games that are similar to Shenmu, but I just wanted to through some longplay/walkthrough games I enjoyed watching!
The Sly Cooper series, Death Stranding, Resident Evil walkthroughs have been some games I loved watching!
So I only read through half of this and I’m not gonna read the comments, because I haven’t watched the Shenmue 3 Vods yet. (I’m close to finishing Shen 2). But anyway, I wanted to say that my impression was that while you have more dialogue with the main characters in Shen 2 (compared to Shen 1), the characters are less interesting than our old favorites in the first. And when you talk to random people on the street, you get a lot of the same response, whereas in the first one, there was a lot more variety in how… Read more »
Ian, have you heard of this game? I hadn’t heard about it until just last night and it immediately made me think of your quest to find another thing like Shenmue.
oops, the name of the game is Dragon Quest
Did you get the Shenmue 3 album on vinyl? You could blast it and go chop some wood to simulate the game in real life. Wander around, ask where the sailors are, search for Chobu-chan, etc.
Shenmue III (Original Soundtrack) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QLJHMM8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_sCseGbKRXDXXT
Damn, no I didn’t! I actually didn’t know III got a vinyl release, I’ll have to pick it up. My Shenmue II vinyl just came in the other day!
They did a deluxe four vinyl set for each town, I think. The one linked is just the regular soundtrack without all the extra songs.
I love listening/watching longplays while I’m working on stuff, too. Some ideas for ones you might like: Vampire the Masquerade–Bloodlines: Full disclaimer that it’s my favorite game, but VTMB fills the explorable city of Los Angeles with bizarre, lovable, unforgettable characters and secrets. The dark humor and theatrical wackiness is mixed with an incredible atmosphere that I think you might enjoy. Alan Wake: An unapologetically cheesy, awesome story about a writer who visits a small Pacific Northwest town, and some supernatural shit goes down. It’s inspired by Twin Peaks, too! Silent Hill 2 & 3: These longplays are a mix… Read more »
Maybe the Quantic Dreams games? Though the gameplay isn’t really similar at all, they work for having a lengthy background narrative experience, Indigo Prophecy(or Fahrenheit depending on region) especially fits the bill for me.
I’m not sure I’ve heard of Quantic Dreams before.. thanks for the recommendation, I’ll look into it!
The way of the samurai games, moon remix rpg adventure, and chulip are what I’d recommend if you’re looking for somewhat similar adventure games. None are quite on the same level of detail as shenmue but hopefully some can scratch that same sort of itch. (I know this is an almost two year old post but I just discovered this blog lol)